An unaccompanied minor was groped on an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Portland last week. The suspect is currently in jail.
Q13 Fox reported that a 26-year-old man with a history substance abuse was reprimanded by a judge for abusing a teen passenger while drunk. Magistrate Judge John Jelderks said there’s a big difference between “being a drunk and a drunk who abuses youngsters.”
The judge agreed with prosecutors at a hearing on Monday to keep Chad Camp in police custody. He’ll be granted temporary release for drug-and-alcohol evaluation.
Camp was arrested on federal charges of abusive sexual conduct; he pleaded not guilty.
Family of girl allegedly groped on plane suing airline: https://t.co/Oa8G5GJZxy pic.twitter.com/1JRYk3lFhW
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) June 20, 2016
According to law enforcement, a flight attendant witnessed Camp grope the unaccompanied minor soon after the plane departed Dallas. Another witness claimed Camp had four mixed drinks at the airport before boarding the plane.
The complaint states that a flight attendant told Camp other seats were available, but he chose a middle seat next to the 13-year-old girl. He started small talk with the teen before making physical contact with her. He leaned up against her, nudged her, and placed his hands on her knee and upper thigh three times. A crew member handing out snacks to passengers noticed Camp’s hand near the girl’s crotch. A tear was seen rolling down the victim’s cheek, and the flight attendant promptly ordered the man to move several seats further back on the plane, while moving the girl a number of rows up front. The captain was notified that the unaccompanied minor was groped. When the plane landed, the suspect was arrested by the Port of Portland Police and FBI agents.
Chad Camp is being held without bail in Multnomah County Jail.
Brent Goofellow, an attorney for the victim’s family, told KOIN 6 that the girl felt “frightened and trapped” when the man was abusing her on the flight.
“She is already saying she doesn’t want to be on an airplane ever again,” Goodfellow said.
According to KOIN’s report, the girl told investigators that Camp wanted to know where she lived and where she was traveling from.
When the teen was with her parents at the attorney’s office, Goodfellow said she didn’t want to be touched even by her mother when she tried hugging her.
“I sat with the family for about three hours … she didn’t want to be touched by her mom, every time she went to give her kind of a loving touch she would jump,” the attorney said.
As Goodfellow emphasized, typically, no one wants to sit in the middle seat of the plane when there are other options available.
“That’s a red flag,” Goodfellow continued. “Anybody who’s been on an airplane ever is going to move out of the middle seat the second they can.”
American Airlines issued a statement following the incident.
“American cares deeply about our young passengers and is committed to providing a safe and pleasant travel experience for them,” the airline said.
“We take these matters very seriously and have cooperated fully and immediately with law enforcement officials in their investigation of the suspect.”
— UJReview (@UJReview) June 20, 2016
The victim’s family plans to file a civil suit. Goodfellow says American Airlines is just as culpable for what happened to the unaccompanied minor on the flight because they didn’t make the suspect move until after the girl was abused for 30 minutes. He claimed the victim was allegedly the only child on the flight that evening, and a “few small steps” would have been “pretty easy to take.”
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]